Oh! What a surprise!

The installation meeting of the Boteler Lodge No 7367 held at the Warrington Masonic Hall was well attended by over 67 Freemasons, to see Derek Houghton installed into the chair of King Solomon for the second time. The lodge was very highly honoured by the attendance of the principal guest Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton.

The lodge was opened by the WM James (Jim) Carrington and the normal administration duties undertaken in the usual form.

Tony Harrison (left) and Derek Houghton.

Tony Harrison (left) and Derek Houghton.

The lodge was opened in the second and third degrees and Paul Hankey, director of ceremonies retired to prepare for the entrance of Kevin and other grand and Provincial grand officers.

Upon a report from the inner guard it was identified that the Provincial director of ceremonies was without and requested admission. He was admitted in due form and announced that the Provincial Grand Master, the Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Assistant Provincial Grand Master and other grand and Provincial grand officers, along with the group chairman were without and demanded admission.

The shock on Jim’s face reflected the amount of surprise displayed by the brethren and almost a feeling of disbelief which was soon replaced by smiles, pleasure and delight. Jim announced that he would have great pleasure in receiving them.

Tony Harrison Provincial Grand Master, Philip Gunning Deputy Provincial Grand Master and principal guest Assistant Provincial Grand Master Kevin Poynton were admitted along with grand officers including Peter Connolly, Gordon Amos, Stan Churm, Derek Hunt and acting Provincial DC Keith Kemp and Andy Barton Warrington group chairman.

Jim welcomed Tony and all the dignitaries saying it was a very big surprise and delight to welcome Tony, Philip and Kevin to the meeting, but added he was absolutely thrilled to have them present and he hoped they would enjoy the evening. At this point, Jim offered Tony the gavel which he returned thanking him for the honour. Tony addressed all the members and visitors saying that he too was looking forward to the evening and conveyed his good wishes to everyone. He continued by clarifying that he was wandering the streets of Warrington and thought he would just ‘pop-in’ to see how things were going! Tony then occupied his rightful place next to the WM, but proceeded to ask Kevin to exchange places because Kevin was after all, the principal guest. This considerably helped to reduce some of the initial shock and things continued as normal (well almost)!

Pictured from left to right, are: Kevin Poynton, Derek Houghton and Andy Barton.

Pictured from left to right, are: Kevin Poynton, Derek Houghton and Andy Barton.

Jim, as installing master, asked Gwilym Jones to act as installing SW, John McIntyre to act as installing JW and Eric Miller to act as installing IG. They all said they were delighted to assist the WM.

Bill Hinchliffe presented Derek Houghton to receive at his hand the benefit of installation. According to ancient custom Derek was installed into the chair of King Solomon. The ceremony was conducted in an exemplary manner with all due reverence, humility and sincerity.

The third degree working tools were confidently explained by Rod Wilson, second degree by Barry Hodson and the first degree by Darren Santus.

The address to the WM was delivered by Bill Hinchliffe, George Bennett gave the address to the wardens and Paul Rigby the address to the deacons. Kevin delivered the address to the brethren of Boteler lodge which completed the installation ceremony.

Immediately following the installation, Kevin on behalf of himself and the Provincial Grand Master Tony Harrison, congratulated Derek on being installed into the chair of such a warm and friendly lodge, commenting that the ceremony was faultless and a pleasure to witness. He praised all the officers including Jim as installing master and Paul Hankey as DC, for the smooth running of the ceremony and the members of the lodge for their work. He also made special reference to the excellent delivery of the working tools by Rod, Barry and Darren. He extended his good wishes to all present and hoped Derek and all his officers would have a productive year wishing everyone the best of health to enjoy it to the full.

At this moment, Derek conducted his first duty which was to present the charity donations to Kevin. The donations were £650 to St Rocco’s Hospice (already donated earlier in the year), £400 to the Royal National Institute for the Blind, £1,500 to West Lancashire Masonic 2017 Festival Charities and £300 to Warrington Masonic Hall fund. The total charity donations amounted to £2,850. Kevin received the donations saying how pleased he was to receive such a magnificent sum of money, particularly from such a relatively small lodge. He praised all concerned saying it was such a remarkable amount and thanked the lodge and brethren on behalf of the recipients, stating that the donations would be gratefully received.

Denis Tierney (left) presenting the certificate to Derek.

Denis Tierney (left) presenting the certificate to Derek.

Upon the receipt of the donation to the Masonic hall company, Tony asked for Eric Drinkwater, chairman of the Masonic hall company to be presented to him to directly. Tony then elevated Eric to the position of Past Provincial Senior Grand Warden, saying that Eric had worked tirelessly for many years to develop and maintain the excellent facilities at the home of Warrington Masons and concluded by saying the hall was a credit to the Warrington Group and probably one of the best halls in the Province. Eric received a standing ovation from the brethren.

This is the second time that Derek has been installed into the chair of King Solomon and is currently the IPM of the Ashmole Lodge No 5128. Derek is 47 years old and married to Marie, who gave birth to a baby boy Blake William Houghton, on 26 November 2016. Derek was initiated into Ashmole Lodge in November 2007 and became a joining member of Boteler Lodge in 2012.

The installing officers are three serving masters of other lodges within the Warrington Group.

Boteler Lodge was founded in 1955 and was initially considered to be a private dining lodge. It has continued to maintain a high standard in dining and as such, is still considered by both the lodge members and their many guests as a friendly dining lodge. Grace was offered by Paul Rigby.

The dining history of the lodge continues and was reflected in the menu selected for the installation banquet. The gastronomic experience started with hot and cold canapes, then on to homemade chicken liver pate, seafood crepe, duck a l’orange with potatoes and seasonal vegetables, strawberry shortcake stack with cream and a selection of English and Continental cheeses with biscuits and port wine. Premium red and white wines were served followed by coffee or tea. Excellent food and service was provided by the hall catering staff. Paul Rigby returned thanks.

Gwilym Jones (left) toasting Derek.

Gwilym Jones (left) toasting Derek.

Kevin responded to the toast to the grand officers, congratulated all involved in the ceremony and passed on his good wishes and thanked Jim for all the hard work he had done, not just tonight but for the two years in the chair. Thanks also went to Paul Hankey and he hoped he had recovered from the initial shock of seeing the Provincial Grand Master standing outside the door of the lodge and to Derek for taking the chair again. Kevin also thanked all the grand officers for their attendance and support. He commented that two of the Warrington stalwarts, namely Jack Forsyth and Dennis Rudd would normally have been in attendance and hoped they would soon be in better health and wished them well.

Kevin proposed the toast to the Provincial Grand Master. Tony thanked Kevin for the toast to his health and congratulated Jim on an excellent ceremony and wished Derek good health to have a productive year in office. He continued by congratulating Eric on his promotion and thanked him for the work he had undertaken, which was reflected in the hall itself, the staff and the food offered coupled with good service.

Denis Tierney (regional charity steward) presented a vice patron certificate of the Masonic Charitable Foundation to Derek, assisted by Chris Todd (group charity steward).

The master’s song was sung by Gwilym Jones accompanied by Brian Hoyle.

Before the dignitaries retired both Kevin and Andy were presented with a bottle of ‘bubbly’. Both Kevin and Andy were delighted to receive them saying they were very pleased and thanked the members for their kindness.

Following the banquet a raffle was held which when added to the collection in the lodge raised just over £600. A thoroughly enjoyable evening was expressed by many members and visitors alike. The evening was brought to a close by Chris Todd delivering the tyler’s toast.

Article by John Starkey.

Pictured from left to right, are: Gordon Amos, Stan Churm, Philip Gunning, Tony Harrison, Eric Drinkwater, Kevin Poynton, Andy Barton, Derek Hunt, Peter Connolly and Keith Kemp.

Pictured from left to right, are: Gordon Amos, Stan Churm, Philip Gunning, Tony Harrison, Eric Drinkwater, Kevin Poynton, Andy Barton, Derek Hunt, Peter Connolly and Keith Kemp.